Team Sky continue to fascinate by their professionalism and new methods. The road team is just one visible element of the Sky sponsorship deal, the aim is also to back the Great Britain team ahead of the Olympics and the expected gold mine in the London velodrome. But for all the excitement generated by the arrival of a big sponsor into the sport, I wondered what financial interest Sky had in backing the sport.
But one big factor in the sponsorship isn’t business, it’s personal. Sky’s James Murdoch is a keen cyclist who rides a lot, doing the Etape du Tour and other cyclosportives as well as hanging out with his riders.
For some time Murdoch Junior has been based in London where he’s been the Chairman of BSkyB, the British TV arm of the Murdoch / News Corporation media empire. He’s also been Chairman and Chief Executive of News Corporation, Europe and Asia. In other words he’s been close to the team in every sense.
But now changes are happening. He’s becoming Deputy Chief Operating Officer of News Corporation and with this, moving to New York. If you’re wondering what family and boardroom jobs have to do with cycling, well I’ll repeat that he’s a keen cyclist and this went a long way to putting Team Sky on the road.
One to watch
It’ll be interesting to see if there’s any shift in focus now James Murdoch moves to New York. Perhaps he’ll continue to travel to London? Perhaps he’ll want to add a couple of US riders to his team? But it’s also possible that his personal interest in the team fades. Sponsorship deals don’t last forever.